The draft National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 was introduced to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday after the House had approved the bill on the $847.3 billion defense budget, the largest in U.S. history.
Section 1233, “Extension and Modification of Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” of the bill earmarks $800 million for “appropriate security assistance and intelligence support, including training, equipment, logistics support, supplies and services, salaries and stipends, and sustainment,” to the military and national security forces of Ukraine as well as “other forces or groups recognized by, and under the authority of, the Government of Ukraine, including governmental entities within Ukraine, that are engaged in resisting Russian aggression.”
Section 1233 specifies the purposes of the assistance as follows:
- To enhance the capabilities of the military and other security forces of the Government of Ukraine to defend against further aggression.
- To assist Ukraine in developing the combat capability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- To replace, from the inventory of the United States, weapons and articles provided to the Government of Ukraine.
In another section of the bill, the Senate points out that Russia has “demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of civilians during its unlawful and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, which has involved indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and executions of noncombatants.” It requires the Secretary of Defense to submit, within 180 days after the enactment of this Act, to submit to the congressional defense committees a “report detailing the atrocities committed by the Russian Federation against civilians in Ukraine since February 24, 2022.”
The Senate has also called for reaffirming the “open-door policy of NATO to allow any European country to apply for membership,” including Ukraine, Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It emphasized that Russia “has no right or authority to veto Ukraine’s pursuit of membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”